Carly Lane
August 11, 2015 7:36 am

When we want to express ourselves online, our options are fairly limitless. Sometimes, however, when you wanted to share a particular sentiment without spending too much time — or wasting valuable characters — you would turn to one of many acronyms. If you can’t quite get over something, you’d probably say “smh” (shaking my head). If you want to express an opinion, you’d preface it with “IMHO” (in my humble opinion).

But if you want to make it clear how amused you are by something, gone are the days of “LOL” (laughing out loud) — at least, according to Facebook.

In a U.S. study conducted by a Facebook team of researchers, entitled “The Not-So-Universal Language of Laughter,” using LOL to express laughter or amusement online is just so passé. By analyzing de-identified posts and comments in the last week of May for indicators of e-laughter, they were able to calculate that 51% of us express our laughter on the social network with a simple “haha”. And when it comes to talking about something that we find hilarious, it actually makes up a fair amount of Facebook content — about 15% of people included an expression of e-laughter in a post that week.

However, the Facebook team also pointed out that age, gender and location also play a part in determining how we talk about what tickles our funny bone online. “The most common laugh is haha, followed by various emoji and hehe. Age, gender and geographic location play a role in laughter type and length: young people and women prefer emoji, whereas men prefer longer hehes. People in Chicago and New York prefer emoji, while Seattle and San Francisco prefer hahas.”

Emojis are also a big factor in skewing the results of the study — more and more people are using them every time as a substitute for their text-only equivalent. Given that emojis also demonstrate a wider range of e-emotions, it’s really no surprise that they’re on the rise when it comes to helping us to express exactly what we’re feeling in the moment.

Of course, if you’re still looking for that perfect image that encompasses all of your feels — there’s still nothing quite like the reaction GIF.

[Image via iStock]

Related:

This photo series shows how perfectly Emojis fit IRL

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